CBS 11 Meteorologist Jeff Jamison discussed severe weather tips and the May 15 tornadoes that swept through Cleburne during Thursday’s luncheon of the Cleburne Rotary Club.
Jamison opened by thanking Cleburne City Councilwoman Gayle White, who serves as a local storm and weather tracker, reporting rainfall totals and other weather information.
He discussed the tools meteorologists use to arrive at a weather forecast including Radars, satellites and multiple computer models. Meteorologists combine information available with the various computer models and their experience, having lived in an area for a certain amount of time with local weather conditions and trends, Jamison said.
“With that, we come up with our own forecast,” Jamison said. “Which is easy when all the models agree, but more difficult when the different models disagree. It’s like [former meteorologist] Harold Taft said, ‘We don’t forecast the weather. We forecast the conditions that cause the weather.’”
Jamison explained that CBS 11’s viewing area encompasses about 30 North Texas counties, which explains why TV shows are sometimes interrupted for weather updates even in areas not affected by impending bad weather.
“We’re trying more and more to break in only during commercial breaks,” Jamison said. “But obviously some situations, like the May 15 tornadoes, you have to go wall to wall.”
The station, like others, is also licensed by the Federal Communications Commission and required to deliver public safety information.
Severe thunderstorm conditions occur, Jamison said, when hail one inch in diameter or greater occurs, winds reach 58 mph or higher or tornadoes are spotted or possible.
Jamison said residents should take severe thunderstorm warnings as seriously as they do tornado warnings and noted that the weather event that blew the roof off the Dallas Cowboys’ practice facility several years ago occurred during severe thunderstorm — not tornado — conditions.
He warned that people need to take cover when severe thunderstorm conditions occur.
Jamison also discussed the recent tornadoes that resulted in substantial damage to several neighborhoods in and around Cleburne. He showed radar shots demonstrating how the tornado shifted from its original path to double back toward the Lake Pat Cleburne area.
Jamison closed by offering steps to take in preparation for and in the event of serious weather. He urged residents to get a NOAA weather radio, learn the various warning codes for outdoor sirens in their city, follow weather websites and follow Twitter.
The last two, Jamison said, come in handy in cases of power outages as people can follow them on their cellphones.